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Guest Post: 5 Key Waterjet Terms We Should All Understand

I’m pleased to say that we have a guest blogger today.  Colleen Carnagey is a major part of Flow’s marketing group and she would like to introduce to you a new feature on our website that might be of real value to you as you become more educated on waterjet capabilities.

Over the years waterjet has created its own vocabulary. I’m fairly new to Flow (in Flow terms–4 years isn’t much on 20), and one thing I realized almost immediately is to feel confident in your understanding of waterjet technology as a whole, you must feel confident in your understanding of the terms used to explain it.

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When Two Cutting Heads Aren’t Better Than One

Having more than one cutting head on an abrasive waterjet should be much more productive than running one head, right?

By understanding waterjet efficiency, and the relationship between pressure and power, you can equip your shop with the most productive system possible. In short, raising the pressure and putting the power through one head is more efficient than running two heads with normal pressure.

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The Basics of a Waterjet Pump

There are two types of pumps used today in waterjet cutting: the linear intensifier pump and the rotary direct drive pump.

Today, both intensifier and direct drive pumps are capable of reliably delivering ultrahigh-pressure water, and both are successfully used in industry. The two pumps have certain components in common. They both have a motor, water filters, control system, and sensors, among other similarities.

Pump types graphic

Before we start looking at these two pumps separately, let’s take a look at how the industry defines differences in pressure levels. Please note that pressure ranges follow typical high pressure plumbing runs (water delivery lines, T’s, elbows, etc.).

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Debunking Common Misconceptions about Waterjets {Part 1 of 2}

What did you say?

I can’t say I’ve heard them all, but I’ve heard a bunch of them: strange misconceptions about waterjets.

It’s not surprising.

After all, we are cutting with a supersonic waterjet stream (often with a garnet sand added to it) and yet it can cut through a foot thick (300 mm) of metal. People say, “No it can’t!” Actually, yes it can.

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How One Small Change Made Waterjet What it Is Today

Today waterjet is one of the fastest growing machine tool processes in the world and has over 30,000 systems installed. But how did it begin? I’ve seen many different claims over the years as to the start of waterjet. There is only one thread – one sequence of events – that I subscribe to, and that is the specific sequence that leads to the commercialization of waterjet for the cutting of soft materials in the 70’s.

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What Makes Up a Waterjet?

Waterjets can be attached to a variety of machines. There are hand-held waterblasting wands with rotating tips used to remove paint; stationary jets used for high-speed tissue paper slitting; single axis systems used for cutting baked goods, fiber cement board or other product moving off of a roll; and still others attached to 7-axis pedestal robots used for trimming automotive interiors. But the most common machine used to hold or move a waterjet (or an abrasive waterjet) is the shapecutting machine tool. These are similar to machines that cut with plasma, laser, or router.

With this machine the material is placed (or held) on a work table and the cutting head is moved in an XY plane over top. Sometimes the head has 5 axes of motion for bevel or 3D cutting. I will use the abrasive waterjet shapecutting system in my example from this point forward.

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